3. September 2013
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President Obama was awarded the 2009 Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts” to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. Now many people say the prize should be revoked due to Obama's demand of attack on Syria. The VoR spoke with Shraga Elam, an Israeli Writer who was behind the petition to the Royal Swedish Academy of Scientists. In a petition a group of activists demanded that the Nobel Prize Committee withdraw the award for economics to the Israeli mathematician and his US colleague on the grounds that they are warmongers.
President Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 peace prize for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The committee’s decision raised mixed reactions throughout the world, now, however, many people again seem to be questioning the decision especially with the demand of attack on Syria. Many people say the prize should be revoked. Is this possible?
At least in the case of 2005 it wasn’t possible but we have to keep in mind the fact that first of all the case of Robert Aumann and his colleague Thomas Schelling was different because it wasn’t peace prize. Still then the affectivity of our group to organize media and a campaign was much lesser than the present one. Therefore, we were not very successful. We got about 1000 people signing our petition, which was not enough to put a real pressure and therefore the situation now is very different. But I am not acquainted with the mechanism of revoking. We tried to do something ahead of the prize and not afterwards.
Is there a framework or mechanism there to put it to a vote or maybe put it to a committee to possibly vote on it at all or is this just already written in stone and we should just move on?
As I said I am not really acquainted with the Nobel Prize mechanism. We tried in advance in October 2005, as far as I remember, the prize was given in December that year. So, our protest was before it was even given and reasoning was really annoying. Considering the fact that Thomas Schelling, whose role in advancing bullying Vietnam and Mr. Aumann, who has a role in advancing militancy in Israel, their reasoning for their getting a prize was for their contribution to a better understanding of conflict and cooperation and also implicitly to solving conflicts. This was really terrific, terrible, and especially Mr. Professor Aumann used his prize to promote his idea, which is anything else but promoting peace.
We saw some media reports that the Chairman of the Nobel Prize committee said reportedly that president Barack Obama should consider returning his Nobel Peace Prize. Is this possible?
As I said, I am not really expert on this but I think it would really a case for launching such a petition demanding that he return the prize just like many others. I mean the president Obama is not the first one and most probably not the last one who is getting a peace prize for something that is everything else but a peace effort.
Maybe that will be Arafat or Kissinger?
Yes, and if you want also, Mr. Begin, Sadat, Shimon Peres, all of them as far as I am concerned are war criminals.
Some people would agree with you, some people would disagree with you of course. Using these similar cases in the past were these Nobel Peace Prize Winners asked to return their prize? Did they do so?
No, of course not. I am not aware of a single instance of a person returning the prize. In your opinion do you think that the prize itself should be scrapped all together? Has it lost its purpose or its meaning?
Of course. I think it is an insult for every intelligent person. There are several other calculations behind such a thing. Let me come back to the case of this economic prize which demonstrated the case beautifully when these two guys got a prize for economics, which is a little bit outer than a Nobel Prize, usual one, and both of them are game theories and a game theory is a very disputable discipline and its contribution to world economics should be really put in question, and we are talking about 2005 and we see now a real disastrous development in capitalism and at that time we didn’t raise the point because we didn’t want to make things more complicated.